For some people, entrepreneurship is a way of life. Creating something new and leading a team is living the dream, and a destination in its own right. For others, it’s only a means to an end, or might even be considered a detour en route to even bigger and better things.
If you’re struggling with the notion of entrepreneurship, seeing the appeal but either fearing the risk or recognizing that it’s not your ultimate goal, think carefully about your options. Entrepreneurship isn’t just about making a lot of money or leading a company to greatness. In fact, the experience of entrepreneurship can make you better at . . . well, almost anything you can think of.
1. Critical thinking
There’s no application that doesn’t demand at least some level of critical thinking. Being able to spot and compensate for your own biases, analyze the roots of various problems and discover alternative perspectives on certain subjects can help you address issues more thoroughly, and make smarter plans for future development.
In the professional world, this means being more efficient and seeing better results. In your personal life, it may mean better understanding your relationships and identifying key areas for personal improvement.
Entrepreneurship also forces you to be creative. While you can’t force creativity, you can practice it — and the more time you spend generating creative thoughts, the better and faster you’ll be at doing it in a practical environment. How you apply that creativity is entirely up to you.
It could help you in a creative hobby, like painting or photography, or give you fuel for professional visions like marketing campaigns — or maybe even another business in the future.
Entrepreneurship is rife with hard times. The strategies you thought were brilliant (and, hypothetically, perfect) may not work nearly as well as you thought they would, or you may reach a point where your finances are stretched so thin that you have to consider closing up shop.
Though times of adversity and failure will test your patience and fill your life with stress, they’ll also teach you valuable lessons about the nature of challenges and hardship. You’ll learn that failure is only temporary, and you’ll grow more confident — not to mention, likely to stop worrying about the smaller problems you face in everyday life.
As the founder of a business, you’ll be in charge of all the decisions. You’re the ultimate source for accountability, and you’re the one who makes the rules. At first, this will be both exciting and intimidating, but as you become more familiar with your role, you’ll start to accept that level of independence and direction as fundamental to your being.
After you gain some experience, you’ll be more decisive and confident, and less dependent on others, which will be beneficial no matter what you do afterward.
It doesn’t take long to realize how much entrepreneurship demands. You’ll be spending countless hours working on your ideas, and managing full teams of people (not to mention partner, vendor and client relationships).
In some ways, entrepreneurship can be seen as a juggling act. In others, it’s a game of micro-economics, demanding that you work with limited resources, like time, to gain the greatest value for the money you put in. In any case, entrepreneurship teaches you the fundamentals of management, which makes you a better decision-maker, better planner and better allocator of resources. There’s no downside to these benefits.
6. Personal branding
Spending time at the helm of your company, you’ll have the chance to develop your personal brand. You’ll get some press coverage as the “face” of your organization, you’ll attract more followers to your social accounts and you’ll likely have the opportunity to publish more content under your name.
All of this can be used in the future to build your resume, help you stand out from the crowd and prove your expertise in at least one niche.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a social butterfly, you’ll gain from adding connections to your network. Entrepreneurship gives you a good excuse to find and retain those connections. You’ll have greater access to employers, mentors, employees and teachers, but also hobbyists and specialists, whom you may call upon for personal projects, as well. Just be sure to keep in touch even after your stint as entrepreneur.
No matter what other goals you have in life — whether you want to be a poet, salesperson, scholar, chef or anything in between — entrepreneurship can give you the skills that will improve your chances of success in your professional life.
Entrepreneurship is an unparalleled experience that offers a diverse range of opportunities for improvement, opportunities that are accessible to just about anyone. If you have the ideas and the motivation to back you, I highly recommend it and even if you fail, you’ll come out better for it.